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Okay, so two things: This article on “Internet Famous”: Visibility As Violence On Social Media

I soon realized that calling me a "public figure" had nothing to do with describing my impact on the industry or recognizing my achievements within it. Rather, the term "public figure" is solely ascribed to me as part of justifying abuse, harassment, humiliation, boundary violations and invasion of my privacy by anyone -- from journalists to anonymous trolls to professional peers. When I protest journalists using bullying and dishonest tactics to exploit my life and relationships for page views, I'm a "public figure" and thus not allowed any privacy or boundaries, or to defend myself in any way. When my experiences and words are twisted, taken out of context and used against me as attacks; when months of my tweets are dug through to find a scrap of something to attack me with: "well you live your life in public!"

Ironically, people who actively stalk me, industry professionals and members of the media engage in the exact same rhetorical tactics of appealing to my "public figure"-ness to justify their acts. The constant gendered harassment, stalking and boundary violation I receive is considered by many to be the natural exhaust of my visibility. There's the assumption that the visibility itself is beneficial enough to me to merit the tradeoff of daily abuse, that I "should have known" it would be like that this, or that I have brought it upon myself by being a "drama queen," "attention whore," or by writing things that are widely read in the industry (which for white cishet men is termed "having ambition" and "being successful").


I also picked up Dowd & Eckerle's Genre and Women's Life Writing in Early Modern England at the library yesterday and have been making my way through it; it's a collection of essays focused on EME women's life writings (including diaries, letters, autobiographies, poems, religious treatises, cookbooks, etc.) and their presentations of "self" in them.

Traditionally when you talk about Early Modern women's writing, you talk about what's known as "the stigma of print", which is not just fears of public visibility but specifically *uncontrolled* public visibility (printing regulations had some controls and copyright and whatnot, but let's face it, media piracy goes a long way back; plus, manuscript circulation gave at least the feel of control because you could usually at least trace how someone came by something--a little bit like Tumblr or Facebook if you will) where there is control neither of how the text is presented but of how you yourself are presented. Print and manuscript circulation had the attendant implications of public/private discourse, though with a rather different impact: by sharing something through mss, though "unpublished" it was still available for consumption. Anyways, long story short, for these reasons Early Modern women have been identified with a specific textual production and consumption model for a bit.

Now, I think that we can talk about the analogs in likening manuscript transmission with social media: the ability to access text and how it is perceived. For instance, those warnings to beware of what you post online in case your employer sees it, etc. etc. Published yet unpublished, consumable and consumed. (I also think it's telling that the MLA guidebooks have FINALLY gotten around for developing citation formats for blogs, tweets, etc.) And I also think that while a fair bit of ink (or electrons) has been consumed talking about social violence in social media, we still have far the fuck to go. I'm lucky in that I'm a small-time blogger and scholar; I've never gotten rape threats etc. from dudez because I have the temerity to post my thoughts on books and comics, etc. But it happens enough to others that we have more or less accepted as a horrifying social norm. And because it IS a social norm there's all these other behaviors that society tries to encode into women writers: "be nice" and "don't be mean" etc. to the men who deign to recognize your work, even if "recognizing" means they are trolling your feed/blog/etc. It comes out of how we are taught "to behave" in everyday life and then feeds back into how we produce our writing.

It's fucked up, man!

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